The Accelerated Legacy Plan is a new idea developed by Anthony Bolton, Paul Spencer and Tom Skwarek, with advice from specialist lawyers Bates Wells. Together they bring considerable experience in financial markets and a passion for philanthropy. At NPC, we conducted a feasibility study to test whether their idea could work.
How accelerated legacies would work
An accelerated legacy plan involves three parties: the donor, a charity and a funder who does the discounting of the commitment by the donor.
- The donor commits to give an amount on or just before their death to the funder.
- The funder then advances the discounted value of that amount to the donor today based on the donor’s age and interest rates.
- The donor then donates that amount to the charity of their choice.
There are many benefits to this idea. Charities would be able to support more beneficiaries sooner. They could also claim Gift Aid, unlike existing legacy gifts. Donors can see the impact of their generosity in their lifetime, alongside keeping financial security by retaining their assets. Funders would benefit from greater alignment with social impact, whether they are a grant-making trust or a commercial entity.
As an idea, the accelerated legacy plan is innovative and much-needed. The possibility that charities could benefit from legacies during a donor’s lifetime is attractive, but our research uncovered financial, cultural and regulatory concerns that we think need further investigation.